Last week I shared how sales management has changed. Today I am sharing the top three skills sales managers need to succeed in this new era of sales.
The “State of Sales Productivity 2015” study by Docurated found that only one-third of a sales rep’s day is actually spent selling, while 31% of their time is spent searching for or creating content, and 20% is spent on reporting, administrative and CRM-related tasks. Nowadays, 44% of B2B organizations do not verify if the business is valid before passing it to sales, and 50% of leads come from outside the standard process, according to a study by IKO System. This all adds up to a lot of wasted time and effort for both sellers and sales managers.
While companies may have been able to get away with wasting time in the past, companies that want to make it in this new fast-paced era of sales will have to have a laser focus on the activities that drive results. There is no room for dawdling. What’s the solution? Better sales management.
Below are three sales management skills necessary for thriving in the new era of sales.
1) Selecting targets.
There’s an adage that salespeople talk to whomever will talk to them. In the new world of selling, your responsibility is to make certain they are talking to the decision makers who can approve large opportunities that will come to fruition in the near future. Working with sales leadership, you must establish a filter that helps to define the most likely candidates for higher-opportunity sales efforts. It is then your responsibility to direct your salespeople to pursue these high-opportunity candidates.
2) Defining priorities.
Salespeople may know whom to target, but it may not be clear in what order of priority. You can support your sales force by helping them prioritize what opportunities they pursue and how much time and effort they spend on each opportunity. Good sales managers keep key opportunities that are real and relevant to the current circumstances in the crosshairs of their salespeople. Remember, no dawdling.
3) Defining time guidelines.
A salesperson’s time is not their own; it is actually a representation of the company’s investment in the marketplace. It is not enough just to tell salespeople to target specific prospects in a prescribed order. Sellers also need to know how to best allocate their time in pursuing these deals. As such, it is your responsibility as a sales manager to set and enforce guidelines for how each of your salespeople spends their time.
Want to learn more about how to grow in this new era of sales? Keep an eye out for the upcoming book: Life After the Death of Selling: How to Thrive in the New Era of Sales.